Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Review – Not Afraid To Break From The Norm
In an era dominated by fast-paced run-and-gun shooters one developer hoped to offer something a little different but does Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege deliver for the tactical fans of the FPS genre or is this just another shooter playground? The promise of delivering an experience leaning more towards the tactical and strategical elements of objective-based shooters had me from the first time Ubisoft revealed Rainbow Six Siege, and throughout the Closed and Open Beta I was thoroughly excited for the release.
Despite my excitement and slightly rose-tinted glasses in the build up to the release I wasn’t entirely unaware of the problems facing Ubisoft prior to the December 1st release date. Whether the team could address these problems before suffering the potential damage of a technically poor release was yet to be seen but my hopes were high.
Monster in hand, mic at the ready and the family told not to bother me for the next 6 hours, I was ready come December 1st. I’d had plenty of experience in the pre-launch testing phases so I was comfortable with the basics but wouldn’t pass up the chance for some free Renown through the training and solo modes so I dived into that without hesitation. A single-player experience designed to introduce players to the basics worked flawlessly and was the perfect opportunity for me to touch up on anything I may have forgotten. A couple of Rambo moments meant I had to restart a couple of the challenges from the beginning and was slightly disappointed that the enemies behaved in an almost entirely identical manner. It was clear that the attention to detail and level of replay-ability with any of the single-player or non-competitive modes was not a primary focus of the game but I still feel it could have done with a bit more time – resulting in a more valuable addition to the content of the game as opposed to a slightly less stressful method of earning Renown.
But if we’re all honest, nobody is going to buy Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege for the thrill of single-player content. The potential of a tactically fueled FPS experience is the games appeal so that’s where I invested the vast majority of my time.
The foundations of the competitive elements of the Rainbow Six Siege experience lays with the various Operators that players can unlock and choose before each round, depending on ally choices and whether you’re team is on attack or defense that round. It doesn’t directly stand out at first but after some time with each of the different Operators the rock-paper-scissors style of development becomes slightly more apparent. For example on defense Mute is able to deploy a Jammer that interferes with electrical devices deployed by the enemy, in effect cancelling the abilities of other Operators like Twitch and IQ. The general approach to the tactics and strategies deployed during the average game with randoms seldom dives deeper than the countering of enemies basic use of abilities, delivering an experience that currently lacks depth and variety. I fully expect the community to evolve and develop new “flavor of the week” type tactics and such but for the first weeks following launch, the general player doesn’t seem to show any serious investment in communication or cooperation and that could quite easily result in a really poor experience in what is otherwise a fantastic concept.
The only real negative to this entire experience is the shelf-life of the game. Sure, if you’ve got a group of ready to go mercenaries at your disposal all hours of the day it’s great but if you often find yourself struggling to fill a team or relying on randoms, you may struggle to find enjoyment past the 15-20 hour mark.
The real magic within Rainbow Six Siege comes into play when you’ve got a group of buddies all willing to take the tactical approach to a situation seriously. My ragtag group of FPS homies don’t exactly boast an incredible pedigree in shooting games and more often than not they’re the type of guys sitting at the bottom of a Call of Duty lobby getting insulted by hordes of spotted youngsters with braces and a terrible lisp. To say my expectations were low would be an understatement.
However, due to the rather unorganized and gung-ho nature of the average group of randoms we were actually able to pull off some really cool stuff. Sometimes we’d get caught napping – totally overthinking a situation to a point where it had taken us 3 minutes to get everyone in position, and on the same page, only for a lone-wolf enemy to catch us unawares and finish off the entire team. But thankfully for the most part the carefully planned strategies of a bunch of energy drink hyped weekend warriors was enough to create some of the most exhilarating, satisfying and boast-worthy moments I’ve ever had in the FPS genre.
It doesn’t matter how many times we pulled it off. Synchronizing a group of players to execute a breach and clear maneuver perfectly, without casualties, was both challenging and rewarding. If only the average player within the community was willing to put in the same effort.